In conversation with Sir David Attenborough

This article is regarding the conservation between Liz Bonnin and Sir David Attenborough on 4th of April 2021, which brings to an end the hope series and earth optimism 2021. A brief introduction of Sir David Attenborough, someone who influenced generations of naturalists and conservationists around the world. Sir David studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge before spending two years in the Navy. He created a succession of remarkable programs, including Trials of Life (1990), Life of Birds (1998), Life in the Undergrowth (2005), Life in Cold Blood (2007), and Life that Glows (2016); films that have become the benchmark for natural history production. 

Sir David Attenborough 
(Source: The Manchester Evening News)

Throughout his career, the shift of conservationists’ approach to saving the plant, habitat, and species has been looking away from a single charismatic species. It is a record that not just the ecosystems we are dealing with but also the plant. The atmospheric circulation of the globe will affect all the world, and it will destroy the whole of the system which has been built up over millions of years.

(Source: The Guardian)

Speaking of a conservation success story that has inspired and influenced Sir David’s work going forward will be Jane Goodall. He was amazed thatJane Goodall decided to study chimpanzees by herself during her early twenties. It is then apparent that these very intelligent creatures, chimps, have accepted her and treated her as though she was one of them. Her observations changed the nation’s attitude towards believing a relationship could exist between a human being and a perfectly wild animal.

In Sir David’s opinion, storytelling is the basis of effective communication. It is challenging to hold someone’s attention for minutes that does not have some kind of narrative dynamic in it. A narrative is of one the greatest importance and easiest way to hold the audiences’ attention.

Sir David said that we must be prepared to shed national interests for the international interest. This means that nations that are wealthy and have built wealth on exploitation in distant parts of the world have to contribute more than others. There has to be a complete revolution in attitudes to the world in which nations think it is more important to get international agreements and particularly the patriotic ones.

The country that Sir David is most heartened by regarding the policy changes and how the government runs is Costa Rica. He mentioned that he recently went to Costa Rica and had to cut his way into the same place he went 30 years back. There were a lot of creatures, and it was a flourishing community. Sir David suggested the budget for armed services and turning into conservation areas and promote tourism and eco-tourism. This helps to build the areas that have been devastated, which is what Costa Rica has been doing. 

Questions from the participants

Sara Kandiah: Thank you so much for all that you do to raise public awareness on such critical planetary issues. How do you keep helpful amid a climate crisis and critical biodiversity loss?

Sir David: You have no alternative, but there is a chance that we can fix things. It would help if you did not spend time thinking it is a 60% chance or 20% chance. Instead, you have to give whatever you can to address the issue, and the likelihood of succeeding is irrelevant.

Earth Optimism Nairobi Team: How do we stop future generations from becoming more disconnected from nature itself and how important it is actually to be in nature itself instead of watching it.

Sir David: To have its full effect, you have to sense the real thing and have to make it possible for people to do that. I have just completed a program about how the changes have been as a result of the pandemic. For instance, the golden gate bridge, where traffic has been roaring for 50 years but suddenly, the pandemic stops the noisy traffic. 

Eve Alderson: Do you have any suggestions about how we, teachers, can ensure our children become proactive, thoughtful, and caring citizens of our precious planet?

Sir David: There is nothing that beats the first-hand contact, and the best way you can do that is actually by having a pond. A marvelous charity called learning through landscapes has dedicated itself to providing small schools and wild areas with a bit of a pond in them. By having a bit of water, you are going to get all sorts of things together, such as dragonflies in spring.

Angela Johnson: What is your greatest hope for Antarctica?

Sir David: My hope is that it will remain an international remote area in which nations get on with one another and agree with one another to deal with problems as a team. There will be more problems there as the temperature rises, and sections of the continent’s ice will have significant changes.

Check out the earth optimism website to know more about the stories of hope and any of the solutions’ activities at:

Written by : Nicholas

Edited by : Pei Zoe

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